Office of NIH History Skip Navigation
Page Banner: Researching Disease: Dr. Roscoe Brady and Gaucher Disease
Previous Page (11 of 11) Glossary  
       
 

Glossary

Amino acid(s): Compounds that link together to make proteins. Essential amino acids are released in the intestines when food containing protein is digested– the body cannot make them. Non-essential amino acids can be made by the body. Amino acids contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sometimes sulfur.

Anemia: Results when the blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells, hemoglobin, or total volume. Causes of anemia include loss of blood, an iron deficiency (so that not enough blood is formed), or a bone marrow disfunction where the blood is made. Symptoms include being tired and bone pain.

Carbohydrate: a compound produced mainly by plants, made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates are found as sugars, starches, and cellulose in food.

Carrier: A person who has one mutated gene for a recessive genetic disease. Because the person has only one recessive gene, s/he does not have the disease (except in rare cases), but can pass the altered gene on to her/his children.

Cell(s) The smallest structural unit of life capable of functioning by itself, a cell has a membrane which allows some things to pass through. Inside the cell is nucleus and other cellular parts. Cells contain DNA and make up our bodies.

Central nervous system: The brain and spinal cord together. They coordinate the rest of the nervous system, receiving sensory information from nerves and sending out messages to respond to stimulation.

Chronic disease (s): Diseases which last a long time or frequently reoccur, and that progress slowly, such as arthritis, heart disease, and many genetic diseases

Enzyme(s): A protein made by a cell that is a catalyst (that is, it facilitates) a specific biochemical reaction. Enzymes control digestion, muscle contraction, and many other functions of metabolism.

Gene(s): A specific sequence in DNA or RNA, it is the unit of inheritance. A Gene codes for the expression of a trait. Usually a gene is found on a specific place on a chromosome, genes reproduce exactly during cell division, and usually occur in pairs, except for those genes on the sex chromosomes X and Y.

Glucocerebroside: A fatty substance (lipid), used by the body as a building block to make cell membrane materials.

Hemoglobin: A protein in red blood cells that contains iron and transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.

Inherit(s): To receive a gene from a parent during reproduction; in humans, we inherit half of our genes from our fathers and half from our mothers.

Liver: A large organ that conditions many of the substances in the blood. The liver secretes bile, converts and stores sugars in useable forms, and produces urea (the main component of urine).

Macrophage(s): A large cell that stores materials and helps to protect the body against infections and foreign substances.

Metabolism: The entire process by which living cells get energy for their activities and new material is added. Metabolism involves the buildup and breakdown of many substances by the use of amino acids and enzymes.

Mutate(s): To change the hereditary substances (DNA, chromosomes, or genes) by affecting the physical location of genes on a chromosome or changing or altering the gene itself.

Placenta: The organ that connects a fetus to the mother’s uterus and that processes the exchange of nourishment and other functions.

Platelet: A small disk-shaped part of the blood that helps in blood clotting.

Prenatal: Occurring, existing, or performed before birth.

Spleen: An organ near the stomach that filters and stores blood, destroys old red blood cells, and helps produce lymphocytes (specialized cells that help fight infections).

White blood cells: Different kinds of colorless blood cells that fight invaders to the body.

Back To Top | Photography Credits

   
       
Previous Page (11 of 11) Office of NIH History | NIH | DHHS